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Measurement of impact in real estate projects

When we talk about impact measurement in real estate projects, we refer to the process by which we can determine to what extent we have been able to generate significant changes in people and the planet through our activity.

Of course, discussing impact measurement involves a prior process: a starting point marked by the definition of concrete and achievable objectives directly linked to the potential of our activity and in harmony with our mission and values.

Why talk about impact in real estate projects?

No matter what activity we engage in, and regardless of our value proposition, the moment we operationally deploy our capabilities and resources, we are transforming the environment and exerting an influence on it. The effects of our activity can be negative or positive, intentional or unintentional, but it is clear that in whatever way we act, these effects will exist.

Having impact objectives and a statement of intent in this matter are central aspects, as they serve as a compass, a guide that allows us to steer the decisions we make in all phases of our activity.

However, the only way to move from intention to action regarding positive impact is to create strategies that enable us to record, monitor, and measure the concrete effects of our activity on our various stakeholders. Only in this way will we:

– Understand the effective impacts (positive, negative, intentional, and unintentional) that we have.
– Determine the extent to which we have achieved our objectives.
– Develop strategies to improve our impacts.
– Be more agile and efficient in risk detection and mitigation.

Why measure the impact of real estate projects?

Considering that buildings are responsible for 37% of global CO2 emissions and that in Spain, we spend more than 80% of our time inside them, it is easy to understand not only why it is so important to propose new models of sustainable urban development but also why it is so relevant to define a strategy to measure the impact of real estate projects.

Buildings can play a significant role from a multi-level perspective: at the macro level (action against climate change), at the meso level (communities, large populations), and at the micro level (individual health, well-being, and comfort).

Unlike other sectors, the construction sector has the possibility of conducting a balanced CO2 accounting on its own through the direct generation of energy on-site.

However, once again, moving from potential to action requires the definition of specific strategies that, in addition to guiding our decisions in terms of design and construction, allow us to measure the concrete effects we have and harness the transformative potential that the field of construction generates to continuously improve our activity and, consequently, the lives and habitability of the people who reside and move in our projects.

As stated by DGNB in the brochure “Climate Positive Now: How Every Building Can Contribute to Climate Action”:

“To harness the potential of buildings as a fundamental contribution to climate action, it is necessary to understand the multifaceted nature and connections of the various sectors involved in a ‘whole building assessment’ and develop scalable solutions based on it (…) The construction of our built environment produces greenhouse gases caused by: the necessary manufacture of construction products, the transportation of products and construction materials, maintenance during operation, and the management of waste at the end of their useful life.”

Additionally, a study conducted by DGNB in March 2019 titled “The Added Value of Certified Buildings” demonstrates that certified building measurement serves not only as a control mechanism and, therefore, quality control for projects but also as a mechanism to increase the value of properties (in terms of both sales prices and rental income obtained). This shows that sustainable and certified buildings are also worthwhile from an economic perspective, both from the perspective of their promoters and their end-users, highlighting the comfort benefits associated with the implementation of efficiency measures.

In any case, impact measurement challenges us to ask how we want to make an impact and to seek the best existing tools and solutions to ensure that our measurement is reliable and representative (aligned with validated standards) and is effective in enabling us to improve our projects, contribute to sustainable development, and communicate our results, thus adding value to our activities.

In any case, impact measurement challenges us to ask how we want to make an impact and to seek the best existing tools and solutions to ensure that our measurement is reliable and representative (aligned with validated standards) and is effective in enabling us to improve our projects, contribute to sustainable development, and communicate our results, thus adding value to our activities.

Edificios sostenibles, medición de impacto
Imagine Montessori School Building

How to measure impact in real estate projects?

Like in all fields, there is no magic formula for measuring impact, nor is there a single measurement standard. However, there are two key criteria that can be considered:

Firstly, it depends on each company’s own conception of sustainability and the corresponding weighting of the dimensions it implies. That is, if we conceive sustainability from a holistic perspective, our impact objectives (and, therefore, our focus in measurement) will be centered on achieving a balance across the four dimensions of sustainability: environmental, social, economic, and governance.

Meanwhile, if we start, for example, from a sustainability concept aligned exclusively with the environmental dimension, we will seek to ensure that our measurement particularly reflects the impact we have in relation to it.

The second criterion is provided by the different international and national standards for impact measurement in the Real Estate sector. In this regard, we can ask ourselves which reporting and certification systems align more closely with our objectives, so that we can choose the one or ones that best represent us.

In any case, impact measurement challenges us to ask how we want to make an impact and to seek the best existing tools and solutions to ensure that our measurement is reliable and representative (aligned with validated standards) and is effective in enabling us to improve our projects, contribute to sustainable development, and communicate our results, thus adding value to our activities.

Featured Image: Ricardo Gómez Ángel

When we talk about impact measurement in real estate projects, we refer to the process by which we can determine to what extent we have been able to generate significant changes in people and the planet through our activity.

Of course, discussing impact measurement involves a prior process: a starting point marked by the definition of concrete and achievable objectives directly linked to the potential of our activity and in harmony with our mission and values.

Why talk about impact in real estate projects?

No matter what activity we engage in, and regardless of our value proposition, the moment we operationally deploy our capabilities and resources, we are transforming the environment and exerting an influence on it. The effects of our activity can be negative or positive, intentional or unintentional, but it is clear that in whatever way we act, these effects will exist.

Having impact objectives and a statement of intent in this matter are central aspects, as they serve as a compass, a guide that allows us to steer the decisions we make in all phases of our activity.

However, the only way to move from intention to action regarding positive impact is to create strategies that enable us to record, monitor, and measure the concrete effects of our activity on our various stakeholders. Only in this way will we:

– Understand the effective impacts (positive, negative, intentional, and unintentional) that we have.
– Determine the extent to which we have achieved our objectives.
– Develop strategies to improve our impacts.
– Be more agile and efficient in risk detection and mitigation.

Why measure the impact of real estate projects?

Considering that buildings are responsible for 37% of global CO2 emissions and that in Spain, we spend more than 80% of our time inside them, it is easy to understand not only why it is so important to propose new models of sustainable urban development but also why it is so relevant to define a strategy to measure the impact of real estate projects.

Buildings can play a significant role from a multi-level perspective: at the macro level (action against climate change), at the meso level (communities, large populations), and at the micro level (individual health, well-being, and comfort).

Unlike other sectors, the construction sector has the possibility of conducting a balanced CO2 accounting on its own through the direct generation of energy on-site.

However, once again, moving from potential to action requires the definition of specific strategies that, in addition to guiding our decisions in terms of design and construction, allow us to measure the concrete effects we have and harness the transformative potential that the field of construction generates to continuously improve our activity and, consequently, the lives and habitability of the people who reside and move in our projects.

As stated by DGNB in the brochure “Climate Positive Now: How Every Building Can Contribute to Climate Action”:

“To harness the potential of buildings as a fundamental contribution to climate action, it is necessary to understand the multifaceted nature and connections of the various sectors involved in a ‘whole building assessment’ and develop scalable solutions based on it (…) The construction of our built environment produces greenhouse gases caused by: the necessary manufacture of construction products, the transportation of products and construction materials, maintenance during operation, and the management of waste at the end of their useful life.”

Additionally, a study conducted by DGNB in March 2019 titled “The Added Value of Certified Buildings” demonstrates that certified building measurement serves not only as a control mechanism and, therefore, quality control for projects but also as a mechanism to increase the value of properties (in terms of both sales prices and rental income obtained). This shows that sustainable and certified buildings are also worthwhile from an economic perspective, both from the perspective of their promoters and their end-users, highlighting the comfort benefits associated with the implementation of efficiency measures.

In any case, impact measurement challenges us to ask how we want to make an impact and to seek the best existing tools and solutions to ensure that our measurement is reliable and representative (aligned with validated standards) and is effective in enabling us to improve our projects, contribute to sustainable development, and communicate our results, thus adding value to our activities.

In any case, impact measurement challenges us to ask how we want to make an impact and to seek the best existing tools and solutions to ensure that our measurement is reliable and representative (aligned with validated standards) and is effective in enabling us to improve our projects, contribute to sustainable development, and communicate our results, thus adding value to our activities.

Edificios sostenibles, medición de impacto
Imagine Montessori School Building

How to measure impact in real estate projects?

Like in all fields, there is no magic formula for measuring impact, nor is there a single measurement standard. However, there are two key criteria that can be considered:

Firstly, it depends on each company’s own conception of sustainability and the corresponding weighting of the dimensions it implies. That is, if we conceive sustainability from a holistic perspective, our impact objectives (and, therefore, our focus in measurement) will be centered on achieving a balance across the four dimensions of sustainability: environmental, social, economic, and governance.

Meanwhile, if we start, for example, from a sustainability concept aligned exclusively with the environmental dimension, we will seek to ensure that our measurement particularly reflects the impact we have in relation to it.

The second criterion is provided by the different international and national standards for impact measurement in the Real Estate sector. In this regard, we can ask ourselves which reporting and certification systems align more closely with our objectives, so that we can choose the one or ones that best represent us.

In any case, impact measurement challenges us to ask how we want to make an impact and to seek the best existing tools and solutions to ensure that our measurement is reliable and representative (aligned with validated standards) and is effective in enabling us to improve our projects, contribute to sustainable development, and communicate our results, thus adding value to our activities.

Featured Image: Ricardo Gómez Ángel